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What is the cut-off point where you will know whether your body will reject an...

Q:

What is the cut-off point where you will know whether your body will reject an implant, 24 hours, 30 days, etc.? I mean, once you have passed the "cautionary stage" and have established that your body has accepted the foreign implant, are you definitely and forever in the clear, or is there always a chance that it could reject at any time?

A:

Silicone is essentially an inert material, and as such "rejection" does not occur. For practical purposes, the true "rejection" phenomenon refers only to protein matter, such as organ transplants.

Silicone can, however, cause mild irritation to the tissue (breast) that it contacts. Within four days of insertion of a silicone breast implant, the body forms a shell of scar around the implant as an isolation mechanism - surgeons refer to this scar shell as a "breast capsule". The characteristic of this scar capsule is that it may contract (tighten) around the breast implant to varying degrees. So in those patients whose “implants have gotten hard,” the actual implant has not hardened. Rather, the scar capsule has tightened around the implant, so that the breast feels hard. This hardening is referred to as “capsular contracture.”.

The frequency and degree of capsular contracture varies from one individual to another. It is not predictable. In general, patients who are going to develop capsular contracture often do so in the first few months after insertion. However, contracture can occur at any time during the life of the implant.

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